kilimanjaro-sleeping-bags

Kilimanjaro Sleeping Bags and Other Accessories

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A warm sleeping bag is an absolute must for Mount Kilimanjaro, regardless of the season you plan to trek.

You can guarantee freezing nights on the upper reaches of Kili (>3,000m) and without a warm sleeping bag you will be uncomfortable and cold.

Below we have set out the key characteristics to look for in the best Kilimanjaro sleeping bags, as well as provided three recommendations based on price and performance.

It is possible to rent sleeping bags in Moshi or Arusa, or from your tour operator, but in general we recommend you bring your own as reusing a sleeping bag that has been previously used by lots of smelly trekkers before you can be rather unpleasant and unhygienic experience. Of course, if you only plan to use your sleeping bag once then renting, or borrowing from a friend, is the preferable option.

If you are set on renting a sleeping bag then it is still worthwhile looking for one with similar characteristics as those set out below, and a good idea to bring a sleeping bag liner (here are some good examples) to provide a slightly more hygienic sleeping environment and additional insulation.

Quicklinks

Sleeping Bags – Key Characteristics

Down vs. Synthetic

There are two types of sleeping bags – goose or duck down, and synthetic. In general down sleeping bags are better quality, lighter and more comfortable. They are however more expensive than synthetic sleeping bags.

To decide between down and synthetic the two key considerations are weight and cost.

The cost calculation is really dependent on your personal budget and more importantly, frequency of camping and trekking.

We recommend going with a down sleeping bag is you plan to do frequent unsupported camping and trekking adventures (2-4 a year), and want a product that is reliable and a long-term investment. If you are trekking Mount Kilimanjaro as a one off and might only use the sleeping bag again in a few years for another trek, then it might make sense to go for a cheaper synthetic option, or indeed rent a bag.

Warmth

As we mentioned above, the nights on Kilimanjaro, or indeed on any high altitude trekking expedition, get very cold. Hence your sleeping bag needs to be able to cope with extremely cold temperatures. We recommend sleeping bags that have a rating at a minimum of -10 degrees Celsius (14 Fahrenheit).

It is however better to have a warmer sleeping bag than a colder one – you would rather be too warm than too cold.

Shape and Design

The best hiking sleeping bag design is the mummy-shape as it is crafted to fit the contours of the human body, and hence provides better insulation that standard rectangular-shaped sleeping bags.

Most adult body-types fit into a mummy-shaped sleeping bag, but if you have a uniquely short, tall or wide-body shape then make sure you pick a size of sleeping bag that will fit your body contours snuggly.

The other two design features to look out for are an insulated hood that can be pulled around your head with a draw chord, and a two-way zipping system which improves insulation and allows for unzipping at both ends of the sleeping bag.

Kilimanjaro Sleeping Bags Recommendations

Best Down Sleeping Bag: Mountain Hardwear Phantom (Unisex)

Mountain Hardwear make great sleeping bags, and the Phantom range is their leading down sleeping bag. It is probably one of the lightest sleeping bags on the market and amazing quality.

The Phantom comes in three styles, we recommend the 0 or 15. See options here.

Recommended Options on Amazon

Best Synthetic Sleeping Bag: Mountain Hardwear Lamina (Unisex)

Mountain Hardwear also manufacture a brilliant synthetic sleeping bag called the Lamina. As far as synthetic bags go the Lamina provides excellent performance for an affordable price. The welded lamina construction reduces cold spots and the nylon shell repels water.

There are six variations in temperature rating but we only recommend two for Kilimanjaro, the -30 or -15. See options here.

Recommended Options on Amazon

Great Value Sleeping Bag: Marmot Trestles 15

For an affordable all-purpose synthetic sleeping bag we recommend the Marmot Trestles 15 (unisex).

As far as synthetic bags go the Marmot is one of the lighter options on the market, making it an affordable bag for self-supported trekkers. Reviews are always good with Marmot products and the quality of their bags align well to their pricing.

Downsides are that its rating to 15F/-9C can feel a little optimistic when temperatures drop. See options here.

Recommended Options on Amazon

Other Good Sleeping Bags

Other good sleeping bags include the Kelty Cosmic Down, either rated at 20F/-7C or 0F/-18C, the North Face Blue Kazoo (Synthetic), or for a very affordable, but heavy sleeping bag the Coleman North Rim, rated to 15F/-9C

Other Sleeping Accessories

Inflatable pillow (optional)
An inflatable pillow that can quickly be inflated and deflated for storage is useful. Equally you could just use a pile of clothes.

Thermal mat (optional)
Your tour company should provide a thin mattress on which you can set your sleeping bag. If you are concerned about the cold and want additional cushioning we suggest bringing a thermal mat that can be stored as a small roll in your duffle bag. Thermarest mats are the market leaders.

Kilimanjaro Kit List Continued

Kilimanjaro Clothing

Clothing Kilimanjaro Guide - Packing List

Overview on all Kilimanjaro clothing requirements, including layered clothing recommendations and the all important outer layer (i.e. jacket).

See Clothing

Kilimanjaro Headgear

Headgear Kilimanjaro Guide - Packing List

Here we cover useful gear to keep your head out of the sun during the hot and high solar radiation days that you will experience on Kilimanjaro, as well as keep your head warm and cosy on summit night.

See Headgear

Hands & Walking

Gloves Kilimanjaro Guide - Packing List

Gloves and walking / trekking pole requirements. Both are critical. The former is very important as your hands are the first to start freezing on summit night. The latter can reduce the impact on your knees by up to 20%, which is a major win when you are descending from the slopes of Kibo.

See Hands & Walking

Kilimanjaro Footwear

Footwear Kilimanjaro Guide - Packing List

From hiking boots to socks and gaiters. Your feet are what get you up Mount Kilimanjaro. Don’t fall victim to purchasing bad boots or socks that will give you blisters!

See Footwear

Kilimanjaro Bags

Bags Kilimanjaro Guide - Packing List

From the Kilimanjaro kit bag to your day-pack. In this section we have provided useful recommendations on the all important duffle and daypack bag requirements.

See Bag & Daypack

Other Accessories

Other accessories - Climb Kilimanjaro Packing List

Kilimanjaro accessories including water bottles and medications. You can also find detailed information on Diamox (the high altitude sickness prophylatic medication) here.

See Other Accessories

FAQ

Still have questions about Kilimanjaro sleeping bags and accessories? Leave a comment below and we will respond within 24hours.

Leave a Comment:

32 comments
Jeff Jones says November 27, 2014

Was reading the recommendations for trekking poles and there is an error you should probably correct….

Grip: Pole grips are usually made from cork, rubber or foam. Cock is a great material and super durable….Cork is a great material….

Best!
Jeff

Reply
    Mark Whitman says November 27, 2014

    Hi Jeff,
    Thanks for the heads up, that’s hilarious. A Freudian slip! I initially read your comment and was thinking, “what’s the problem”! Thanks for pointing it out.
    All the best!

    Reply
Alex says August 23, 2015

Nice post with full instruction and other information. This sleeping bag is really awesome I was using the KILIMANJARO this is best but some time its not warm for the cool place the one point i think worst for it otherwise its best for the traveler. I really recommend that.

Reply
Mary says February 20, 2016

Hello! My husband and I want to climb the Kili. We’re currently working in Africa. Our only holidays dates is May which I understand is far from ideal to climb, but we really don’t want to miss the chance if we can. Our second constraint is equipment. We are currently posted in a very warm country and we did not bring along any winter/climbing clothes nor any climbing equipment. We can arrive to the Kili via Nairobi or other nearby big capital: do you know if there are recommended stores where we could purchase the clothing and recommended equipment?

Reply
    Mark Whitman says February 20, 2016

    Hi Mary, most Kilimanjaro companies in Moshi or Arusha will be able to rent you gear. Quality varies a lot but you should be able to find what you need. Failing that there are rental shops in Arusha and some hotels, like Springlands offer rental gear. All the best!

    Reply
Phil says April 20, 2016

Hi, My wife and I are looking to climb Kili, and we are getting all of our kit together to see what we already have and what we need to purchase.
You recommend above that a sleeping back should have a minimum rating of -10C, but does this refer to the comfort rating or the extreme rating?

We both currently have mummy sleeping bags which have a 3/4 season rating and our particular sleeping bags have a comfort temperature rating of -1C to 3C with an extreme temperature rating of -17C. We also use silk sleeping bag liners for extra warmth.

Would the sleeping bags we have already be warm enough up Kili, or do we need to go warmer?

Kind regards

Phil

Reply
    Mark Whitman says April 29, 2016

    Hi Phil,
    You’re sleeping bags should be fine. If higher up on the mountain you find you are still cold, you can always sleep with a few layers on!
    All the best!

    Reply
Rob says June 18, 2016

Great advice all round. Thanks. I trek Mount Kilimanjaro next year. I’m gonna use this information to get all my kit together. One question though. I was going to take a 65L backpack and a 20L day sack. But going off information on this site, is a backpack not nessecary or practical? Is a duffel bag better to take with you?

Reply
    Mark Whitman says June 19, 2016

    Hi Rob, a 65l backpack or rucksack will suffice as an alternative to a duffle. The reason I recommend 80-90l duffels are because they can fit more gear, tend to be better weather proofed than other types of bags, and the porters like carrying them. But if you can get all your gear, including your sleeping bag, in your rucksack, then go for it! Best of luck with your Kilimanjaro adventure!

    Reply
Chris says August 28, 2016

Hi there and huge thanks for this amazing website.
Climbing soon, in about a month, i am still trying to figure out the sleeping bag part.
Do you think a Mountain Hardwear Lamina 0 (men-Regular), Limit Temperature comfort : -18 °C would do the job and suffice ?
Would a linner like Thermolite reactor be a smart extra thing to have ?

Thanks for your help!

Reply
    Mark Whitman says August 29, 2016

    Hi Chris, any four season sleeping bag is sufficient. The Lamina 0 would do the job! A thermarest mat is an added benefit in terms of warmth and comfort. Most operators will provide a thin foam mattress though. So it really depends how much extra comfort you want and the impact bring a mat will have on your total bag weight. Hope this helps!

    Reply
Dmitri Sheets says September 6, 2016

If getting cold at night is a high concern, as it is for my wife, would you recommend a Therm-a-Rest as a second layer to sleep on? Also, would a light weight mylar blanket (like the very thin emergency wrap blankets) be helpful to retain body heat?

Reply
    Mark Whitman says September 6, 2016

    Hi Dmitri, A thermarest is a good idea if your wife really feels the cold. A mylar blanket might be overkill, but definitely make sure to use / bring a good quality four season sleeping bag. All the best!

    Reply
Mike says September 15, 2016

Chris climbing Kilimanjaro in February just getting gear together I have a friend in the states that swears by feathered friends sleeping bags have you come across them/any comment?

Reply
    Mark Whitman says September 16, 2016

    Hi Mike, I haven’t heard of feathered friends but there is nothing like a personal recommendation. If it is a four season bag then it should be fine for Kili! All the best.

    Reply
      Mike says September 19, 2016

      Ok 900 goose down and pertex coating so sounds about right might give it a go and let you know. Trying to decide now whether to take my down jacket as well as hard shell, multiple fleece, base and mid layers or is it a bit OTT.

      Reply
Sara Dargan says January 8, 2017

Hiya – my family and I …. husband, two kids – 12 and 13, very active! – have booked to climb Kili in July and I was wondering if the kids need adult sized backpack, sleeping bags etc ….
If you could recommend what to do – and if not to bother with full size things then the suitable products for them …. – that would be great!!
Many thanks,
Sara

Reply
Sara Dargan says January 8, 2017

Sorry autocorrected to my daughters name …. !!

Reply
Dennis says February 26, 2017

Hi there, your kit list has been super helpful as I prepare to hike Kili in a month! Curious about sleeping bags. My dad tossed me a once-used Suisse Sport Summit 0-5 Degree Mummy Bag. I was able to find the following description on it and was wondering if you think it would do the trick. I’m a bit skeptical because it’s priced cheaply online, but I’d love for it to be solid!

“This sleeping bag is great for cold-weather backpacking or car camping. With a 5 temperature rating, the Summit Mummy Bag features 3-lb. Micro Tekk Z1 performance insulation to help you combat the elements.
33″ x 84″ x 24″
5 degree temperature rating
3-lb. Micro Tekk Z1 performance insulation
Double-layer offset quilt
Durable, textured polyester outer
Contoured hood
Full chest baffle and draft tube
Side gussets
Includes compression sack”

Reply
    Mark Whitman says February 26, 2017

    Hi Dennis, you should be fine with this sleeping bag. It might be a little cold higher up on the mountain but you can always wear thermals or a few layers when you sleep. Best of Luck!

    Reply
Kate says March 16, 2017

My husband will be climbing Kili in June with Everlasting Tanzania- they provide the sleeping bags, but suggested that he bring a liner. Do you have some recommendations for liners? Thanks so much!

Reply
    Mark Whitman says March 20, 2017

    Hi Kate, sleeping bag liners are pretty standard nowadays so their is very little benefit going with a high-end brand. Depending on the warmth of the sleeping bag you can either go for a fleeced liner option (which will give you more warmth) or a silk option (which is light and easy to use in conjunction with a warm sleeping bag). All the best!

    Reply
Windy says May 9, 2017

Hi!
We are going to be hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro in February 2018 and your website has been a fantastic resource for planning what to bring! I’ve forwarded it to everyone who is going on the trip with us! Now to my question. My husband is 6’7″ and I’ve been having a very hard time finding a sleeping bag that is big enough with a low enough temp rating. Should he just get a 78″ bag with the correct temp rating and just wear his hat and fleece layer with hood to sleep in? Or should he get an 84″ bag that has a higher temp rating and bring a liner or more clothes to sleep in? Thank you so much!

Reply
    Mark Whitman says May 10, 2017

    Hi Windy, that’s a tough one, I would say a better fitting sleeping bag is the right option, i.e. the 84″. Cheers!

    Reply
Imogen Taggart says May 27, 2017

Hello. My student daughter signed up to climb the Machame route this September. I haven’t given it much thought till now but having done some reading am terrified. She’s slim and active but not hugely fit. We have no equipment nor experience of such. I’ve written down your recommendations and am about to start the research but I recon I’ll be bankrupt by the end. Also I’m very concerned about the altitude sickness and a unsure whether she should try and get medication to prevent it. I’m not an over-protective weirdo mother but I am now worried about what she’s taking on.
Do you think I have reason to be and where do I start for all this gear she needs? :o(
Thanks!

Reply
    Mark Whitman says May 28, 2017

    Hi Imogen, appreciate your concern, Kilimanjaro is a pretty big undertaking and of course comes with some risk. That being said, with the right level of preparation (i.e. training before the climb) and good on-mountain support and planning, your daughter should be absolutely fine. Tens of thousands of people summit Kilimanjaro every year and although some people suffer from altitude sickness, with early detection one can get down to a safe altitude very quickly. If your daughter is on the 7-day Machame then rest assured that summit success rates are high on this route and severe altitude sickness relatively uncommon. Assuming you guys have booked with a good operator I’m sure she will have a safe and successful adventure, that will be incredibly rewarding and memorable. In terms of gear, bets place to start is here: https://www.climbkilimanjaroguide.com/kilimanjaro-kit-list/. All the best!

    Reply
Jaap says June 6, 2017

Hi, I will be climbing the Kilimanjaro in januari next year. Already owning a Cumulus Panyam 600 (850 cu in) down sleeping bag with a comfort temperature of -6 deg cel. (limit and extreme temps are resp. -13 and -32). I’ll bring a thermo liner which ads another 5+ degrees and sleep a neo-air Xlite sleeping mat. Would that be sufficient in your opinion temperature-wise or is it a little tight?

Best regards!

Reply
    Mark Whitman says June 9, 2017

    Hi Jaap, yes, you should be fine. If you do get a little cold you can always wear an extra layer in your sleeping bag. All the best!

    Reply
Mike Smith says July 17, 2017

Jambo!
I climbed Kili back in February this year and just wanted to say a big thanks, as I found this site most helpful with sensible recommendations that don’t break the bank. I asked back in September whether you had heard of Feathered Friends sleeping bags from Seattle. well I got one, the only thing I really splashed out on but well worth it very comfortable a little too warm at lower altitude but it has a full length Zip so could release from the bottom and cool down. Just like to say to those going- don’t worry, take time to enjoy the Mountain, go with a reputable agency and be open with your guide they will look after you. Enjoy!

Reply
    Mark Whitman says July 17, 2017

    Hi Mike, delighted you found our site helpful and had a great time on Kilimajaro! All the best!

    Reply
Maria says August 23, 2017

Hello! we are climbing Kilimanjaro through the Marangu route (in 5 days) in mid September. 1st question: do you know the success rates for this climb? can’t seem to find it anywhere…2nd question: The agency told us that there is no need to take a sleeping bag as we will be staying on huts…do you agree? If yes, will liners be enough? If you don’t agree, could they mean that we don’t need a sleeping bag that sustains very low temperatures but we will need a lighter one? thanks a lot!
Maria

Reply
    Mark Whitman says August 23, 2017

    Hi Maria, Success rates on the 5-day Marangu are significantly lower than on the other routes as their isn’t much time to acclimatise. There are no official statistics but I would estimate the 5-day Marangu has about a 70% success rate to the summit and 80% to the sub-summit (Gilman’s point). Could be a little lower though. You definitely need a sleeping bag for the Marangu route, despite the fact that you will be sleeping in huts. Your operator may have meant that they supply trekkers with sleeping bags. It is worth checking with them. A four season sleeping bag is recommended. All the best!

    Reply
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